Fishing at Bynum Reservoir, on the Rocky Mountain Front north of Choteau, will close beginning Oct. 3 to protect the popular walleye and yellow perch fishery there, Pat Graham, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Director said today. Graham closed the reservoir to fishing until further notice, acting with authority delegated to him by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission. The reservoir will reopen depending on runoff conditions in winter and spring and other criteria being developed now by FWP.
FWP is also installing aeration equipment at Bynum Reservoir to try to avoid an almost certain winterkill of the fish, according to FWP fisheries manager Steve Leathe.
"This is the first time we have tried this here," Leathe said. "We want to do whatever is possible to preserve this fishery through what will certainly be very tough winter conditions for fish."
The cost of the aeration is being shared in a partnership between the Great Falls chapter of Walleyes Unlimited, and funds from the Governor's Environmental Contingency Account. The Governor's Environmental Contingency Account helps finance unexpected emergency needs related to protecting the environment, in this case needs caused by the drought.
Bynum Reservoir, when full, has a maximum depth of 39 feet, but due to drought and irrigation demands the reservoir has been drastically reduced in size to two ponds separated by a shallow channel that is likely to freeze solid during the winter. The pond nearest the dam is about eight to nine feet deep at its deepest point.